One-on-One with A.J. Green
University of Georgia All-American A.J. Green is considered to be among the top wide receivers in the country. The former Summerville High School star, who did not play Saturday as he awaited an NCAA ruling clarifying his playing status, recently went One-on-One with The Post and Courier's Andrew Miller about Georgia coach Mark Richt, the NFL Draft and playing against the likes of Carlos Dunlap and Robert Quinn:
This is your third season at Georgia and you are working with your third quarterback. How difficult of a transition has that been?
"It hasn't been as difficult as most people think. You have to realize what the strengths and weaknesses of each guy are and work on those weaknesses. The key is spending as much time as possible with them in the summer and getting used to the way they throw the ball."
After going 8-5 in 2009, what are the expectations for this year's team?
"Last year was tough. It wasn't what any of us expected. We know we're a better team than that. I think we're going to surprise a lot of people. Our offensive line should be one of the best in the country and football starts with the guys up front. I can't do anything without them. Not a lot of people are talking about us and I think that's a good thing. Everyone wants to make up for what happened last year."
What are your goals for the season?
"My first goal is to do whatever I can to help the team win. The team is No. 1 with me. Personally, I want to be an All-American, but I'll take an SEC title over being an All-American any day."
Does turmoil on the defensive side affect the offense?
"Not really. Those guys had a tough season last year. They've made some changes and they looked great in the spring. The one thing I've noticed is that they're a lot more aggressive than they were last season."
Talk about the catch you made against LSU.
"It was just a fade route. Joe (Cox) threw me a great ball and I just went up and made a play on it. Those are the plays I live for. I want them to throw the ball when the game is on the line."
Then you got a celebration penalty after catching the ball?
"I still don't understand that call. I was trying to get back to the sidelines, but the guys wouldn't let me get back there. They were lifting me up and then the ref threw the flag. To me, that's part of the game. It's an emotional game. As long as I'm not doing anything to taunt the other team, then it shouldn't be a penalty. I hope they change that rule."
You seem to love to play against South Carolina.
"I'm from South Carolina and I know if I lose I'm going to hear about it when I get home, so I have to play well against them. I know so many of the guys on their team."
Coach Mark Richt seems so calm and cool. Does the guy ever get mad?
"He can get mad and get upset, but he's pretty laid back as long as you're doing your job. He's not the kind of coach that's going to get in your face if you make a little mistake. I think that makes him easier to play for. He's going to demand a lot out of you, but he's not going to blow up if you mess up."
Have you ever given any serious thought to playing basketball at Georgia?
"Never. I'm going to stick with football. The basketball coaches have asked me to play, but I never really thought about it. I play in pick-up games with the basketball team during the summer. I still got it (laughing)."
You, Robert Quinn and Carlos Dunlap had some epic battles when Summerville would play Fort Dorchester. What are your memories of those games and did you guys ever get matched up on each other?
"Those were some of the best games I played at Summerville. I think there was a fight my freshman year between the teams. Then my junior year, they had Carlos lining up against me as a cornerback trying to guard me with a safety over the top. I looked up and there was Carlos. I just started to smile. Carlos is a great player, but there's no way he could guard me one-on-one coming off the line."
There's a good chance you and Robert Quinn might be top-10 NFL Draft picks.
"I've known Robert since I was in the eighth grade. We went to the same middle school. We've been friends a long time. He's a great player, too. He used to try and hit me all the time when we played against Fort Dorchester. It's amazing to think that we could both be first-round draft picks in the NFL."
You're only a junior, but you'll be eligible for the NFL Draft in April. Are you going to leave school early and enter the NFL Draft?
"I'm not even thinking about the NFL right now. I'm just worried about Georgia."
What's the toughest Southeastern Conference crowd?
"I've never been to the Swamp, so I don't know what it's like to play there. Tennessee is pretty loud."
Who retires first, you as an NFL player or Coach John McKissick as a head coach?
"I'd love to say Coach McKissick, but I bet it'll be me as an NFL player. (laughing). I don't think he's ever going to stop coaching."
"They're talking about making a movie about the Charleston 9, and coach Louis Mulkey. Who do want to play you in the film?